Authors are often asked where they find the inspiration to write their stories. In truth, it can come from anywhere. A dream. A snippet of a conversation they overhear. Wherever. Inspiration for nonfiction isn’t much different. It can come from unexpected places. For Undead Obsessed, it came from World War Z and a scene from The Walking Dead and a desire to find answers.
I have been obsessed with zombies since the first time I saw Night of the Living Dead in junior high, and I’ve always wanted to write about them, but I never knew what I wanted to say. Inspiration sprouted after I watched World War Z. The scientific approach of finding the cause of zombies intrigued me.
I had a professor in college who told me that every film has a message, but if you really want to know what society is afraid of, watch horror. Zombie films portray a lot of social fears, including religion, gender, classism, and race, but what I wanted to focus on was science. The vast majority of zombie films I have watched in my life involved science or a scientist in some way—usually in an unflattering role.
My research began after watching the scene in The Walking Dead when the characters were trying to get a zombie out of a well on Hershel’s farm. To me, this mishap meant they contaminated the water supply and were all doomed. But they went on with their lives like nothing had happened, so maybe I was wrong. I had to find answers, and I did.
Speaking with professionals and researching this book was a lot of fun. I learned a lot of new things. I read things I wouldn’t normally read—and enjoyed them. Inspiration came from an unlikely place. It started with the question: Is this really plausible? And it was amazing where the journey took me.
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What got Jessica Robinson into zombies?
Jessica Robinson's obsession with zombie films started when she was in junior high. Horror films are a great lens to examine concerns society has about modern science. Let’s face it, when it comes to horror movies, science has a bad reputation. Blind ambition, experimental serums, and genetic experiments are often blamed for the giant monster terrorizing the city or the reason aliens are taking human prisoners or the cause of the dead rising from the grave to consume living flesh.
Using film, literature, and interviews with experts, Robinson examines how zombies portray real-world fears such as epidemics, mind control, what may or may not exist in space, the repercussions of playing God, and the science behind the fears. Robinson's goal is to explore how zombies become a metaphor for our fears of science and what could happen if science gets out of hand.
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Jessica Robinson is an editor by day and a zombie-killer by night (at least in her books). Since the first time she watched Night of the Living Dead, she has been obsessed with zombies and often thinks of ways to survive the uprising. In addition to her nonfiction book, under the pen name Pembroke Sinclair, she has written YA novels about zombies and the tough teens who survive the apocalyptic world.
She has also written nonfiction stories for Serial Killer Magazine and published a book about slasher films called Life Lessons from Slasher Films.
You can learn more about Jessica by visiting her at:
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Coffin Hop, the annual horror author blog tour, runs from October 24 to October 31. Visit some more blogs participating in the tour! Everyone is giving away prizes!